Bowe Bergdahl is back in the news this morning after an allegation last night that the US Army is moving forward on prosecuting him, but the most transparent administration in history is keeping that from the public:
The Army has decided to charge Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was released by Taliban-aligned militants last year in exchange for five Guantanamo prisoners, with desertion, according to a former military intelligence officer.
Retired Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, who now works at the London Center for Policy Research, told Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" Monday night that he's learned of the military's decision from two sources.
"The Army has come to its conclusion, and Bowe Bergdahl ... will be charged with desertion," he said.
Video at the link.
The army denies that and says there's "no change" and an "ongoing review at this time." However, Shaffer says that a "charge sheet" has been given to Bergdahl's attorney and that is a very specific step in the process, coming immediately after the investigation. I suspect the army spokesman is doing a little tap dance here, as there are multiple reviews of the charges after that point, especially if the charge is as serious as desertion, which during wartime means sentences including the death penalty if convicted.
It has been eight months since Bergdahl was traded for 5 Taliban prisoners. That is more than enough time to complete an investigation of Bergdahl and the circumstances of his disappearance, especially considering all of the investigative work that was done immediately after his capture and while he was being held. That the army would be ready to move forward by now is no surprise.
That the army would move forward with serious charges would be no surprise either. Leaving aside the wisdom and negotiating skills involved with trading five Taliban for one alleged deserter, the Obungler and his team seriously screwed up with the Rose Garden celebration and lauding Bergdahl as serving with "honor and distinction." The reckless way they embraced him and his family, as if he wouldn't have to face very serious charges, speaks of an ignorance about the US military that is almost scary.
We'll have to see how the trial goes, assuming there will be one. If that process is short-circuited by Obama then the hell to pay for that will be enormous. The problem is that Obama and his team just might be that clueless/arrogant. But if it goes forward it will probably hinge around intent. If Bergdahl wandered off yet intended to get back to his unit, the lesser charge of AWOL will apply. If the charge really is desertion, then the army thinks they can prove that Bergdahl intended to leave his unit permanently. And in the realm of intention, another serious charge could be in the works.
Get on with it. I don't want the death penalty for Bergdahl if he is found guilty. In that case I want him to do enough time as necessary to advance the good order and discipline of the US military, and forfeit all rank, pay, and benefits. Then he can go away and we can all forget about him.